Wasn't subscribed to this list earlier, so I'll just hijack the first
mail from the copyright thread to reply to to state my own opinion on
So, I'm not a huge fan of them and believe they put contributors off.
None of the various projects I've contributed to outside of
OpenOffice.org had one, and had I been an individual developer, as
opposed to an employee whose company approved a block assignment thing
on our behalf, I almost certainly wouldn't have bothered to go through
the process personally on OOos behalf either. They definitely put me
IMO, they take a lot of the fun out of it, and erect a barrier on two
fronts, the first is the practical hassle of signing it, faxing it,
sometimes even buying stamps and posting it, clicking through whatever.
Ugh, its so often not worth the pain. The other barrier is the
difference it makes to the perception of the body that wants it. Logging
a patch, implementing features, etc to help out fellow developers and
users "just like me" is one thing, but when presented with a copyright
assignment then you're pushed out into a different world where there's
some legal entity wants to own or co-own your work, and that's not a
warm and cosy place.
Who exactly are they, what do they want to do with it, why do they need
it. What are their motivations and can I trust them ?. If enough people
of one company or another get onto the board will they sell out and
relicense everything to some third party. Do I have to read all their
bylaws to see if that's not going to happen. Do I trust them.
As far as I know, GNOME, KDE, Linux kernel and the GIMP along with
masses of the little projects that makes everything work, typically get
along fine without copyright assignment, though some have quirks like
optional copyright assignment.
There is the advantage of being able to move up to a newer version of
the LGPL of course, but large chunks of the code is locked in as LGPLv3
anyway, so using a newer version of the LGPL is only possible if Oracle
relicenses their existing contribution under that, the current policy of
placing new work under a GPLv3+/LGPLv3+/MPLv1.1 should cover situations
like that if they arise.
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